WHO IS TO BLAME

Two years after Ondoy brought death, destruction and devastation to Metro Manila, nevertheless some people seems to be reluctant on trying to improve the precautions if another disaster may come and visit the country again. The Philippines remains unprepared for such calamities. It seems that having lack of funds has always been the government’s excuse from taking all the measures necessary to minimise the risk from typhoons like Ondoy, which flooded the capital and left over 400 people dead. Nor is there enough money to relocate thousands of families still living in ramshackle or precarious conditions susceptible and exacerbating floods during the current typhoon season.

The massive flooding is caused of clogged drains and waterways but the government has largely failed to remove the thousands of squatters whose shanties obstruct the waterways. The government does not have any program to clean the drainage and waterways. Yet, there are still so many Filipinos who do not have discipline in organising and disposing their garbage.

Ondoy took many by surprise on the 26th September 2009 when it unleashed heavy rains that caused the worst flooding in Manila in four decades. Even residents of plush, gated communities were forced to take refuge on the roofs of their houses as the water rose and large parts of Manila and surrounding areas stayed flooded for months afterwards.

We should be aware of the weather in our country. Clogged rivers, waterways and drainage systems needed to be regularly dredged, and relief goods must be stockpiled and rescue equipment pre-positioned in case another strong typhoon hits Metro Manila again.

The anniversary of the deadly storm is being commemorated in various ways with government agencies conducting rescue drills, volunteers cleaning garbage out of waterways and people lighting lanterns in honour of the deceased. But really, does the government put enough money to finance the exercises and trainings to avoid another incident or some officials are trying to have their names accounted to a noble task though only after the budget?

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Our government should handle and take precautions about this matter seriously so it won’t put million lives into grief again. After a year, we are still living in misery, scared of another Ondoy.

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